Events are major destination-drivers and a great way to spread awareness about them is by posting them across social media. Many destinations have several events going on in a single day, let alone over weeks and months. It’s easy to get things muddled up in terms of what happenings take precedence over others. So, how exactly are you supposed to know which ones to post about? Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to decipher what events to prioritize in your social feeds.
Is this event likely to convert overnight stays?
Start by asking yourself this question: “Is someone likely to travel to your destination and stay in a hotel for the event?” If the event is a small or medium concert, a farmer’s market or even a small art fair, the answer is probably “no.” However, a three-day annual fair, a music festival or an event that is unique to your destination, like Dublin, Ohio’s Irish Festival, is definitely worth posting about.
These types of events are considered “destination drivers”. The event is big enough and niche enough for visitors to plan ahead for. We consider these “major events” that will likely require visitors to have to stay overnight. Typically, specific, unique, niche events fall into this category. Check out the example below of Dublin, Ohio’s Irish Festival.
Is the event relevant to a current leisure traveler?
If the event isn’t likely to convert overnight stays ask whether or not the event is relevant to someone traveling on a leisurely basis. This means you should be posting about things that draw people into your destination rather than things that are tailored to attracting locals. Here are a few instances of events that would be primarily attended by locals:
- Storytime at the local library
- Salsa night downtown
- Midnight movie showings at the local theater
In other words, if you can find it anywhere, it’s probably not relevant to a leisure traveler. However, if there’s a superlative like; “Biggest Salsa Night in the US”, then its worthy of being placed on the content calendar!
A fantastic example of a unique destination-driving event is the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan. This highly populated, 8-day festival, only takes place in Traverse City, making it a significant destination-centric event.
Does the event support a major partner or a larger DMO initiative?
There are ‘special case’ scenarios when an event doesn’t meet the criteria of the first two questions. Ask yourself if the event supports a major partner or larger DMO initiative. This may be different for a variety of destinations, but regardless, its a critical question to ask yourself! This essentially means that if your DMO works hard to promote a specific event that supports your organization or a local partner, its important to post about it across social.
A great example of this is the commonly held “Restaurant Week.” Restaurant Weeks take place across the US, and although it doesn’t typically convert overnight stays, if you’ve put a lot of time and effort into coordinating the event, it’s an excellent opportunity to feature your local restaurant partners.
Another instance that would match these credentials would be a smaller event that supports a key element of your destination. Suppose that your major attraction like an Air & Space Museum was holding a fundraising event to raise funds for a major expansion. You could use the opportunity to provide more awareness about the museum and exciting new additions coming in the future!
Check out this easy to follow flow chart to help make these decisions quickly. Better yet, share it with your partners so they know what you promote and what you don’t!
Once you’ve decided whether or not the event is going to make it onto your content calendar, you need to make sure that you have a robust landing page to accommodate the post. If an event meets any of the previous three criteria but doesn’t have a landing page on your website, take time to create a dedicated page to support it. Landing pages are absolutely key!
TwoSix Tip: Try to get away from using the term “event listing” at all costs. You need to build useful landing pages that ignite the discovery process. Just say no to event listings. Say yes to mobile-friendly, fully-integrated landing pages that extend the story for your website users. And, don’t forget those call-to-action items either!
Adding events into your weekly and monthly content plan is an excellent way to spread awareness of what is happening in your destination. Just be sure to select the right ones that help you reach your organization’s goals of driving overnight visitation.
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